News & Reports 2011-04-30

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2011-04-30

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton hold a fabulous wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in central London.

More than 300 people are confirmed dead in the catastrophic storms and tornados that swept across the southern United States.

Japan's bullet train services resume between Tokyo and Shin Aomori, lifting hopes of an economic recovery in quake-ravaged northeastern Japan.

The latest IMF Outlook for Asia-Pacific says economic growth in the region is expected to remain robust this year and the next.

Hot Issue Reports

Chinese Envoy: Use of Force Not Solution to Syrian Crisis
China says the use or threat of force should be ruled out in dealing with the current Syrian crisis, saying the use of force could only arouse social unrest and worsen the situation.

Addressing the Human Rights Council on Syria, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations office in Geneva He Yafei says that China has welcomed the moves taken by the Syrian government, such as lifting of the state of emergency and beginning of political reforms.

He hopes to see the disputes solved through political dialogue instead of by using force.

"China insists that the solution to the Syrian crisis should be in accordance with the UN Charter and the international law while respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, and refraining from interfering in their internal affairs. Moreover, any help from the international community has to be of a constructive nature, which is conducive to the restoration of stability and public order and ensuring the maintenance of normal economic and social life."

He Yafei adds that the use of force cannot bring a solution to the problem but will only cause a greater humanitarian crisis.
He Yafei has also expressed his concern over the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. The unrest, he said, has not only affected those countries' stability and disrupted their economic and social development as well as people's normal life, but also undermined the regional security.

The anti-government demonstration has been lasting for six weeks in Syria, killing at least 500 locals so far.

Prince William and Kate Middleton Are Married
Prince William and Kate Middleton married in Westminster Abbey as a million people packed the streets and an estimated 2 billion more are tuning in around the world to witness an event expected to revitalize the British monarchy.

The couple looked nervous but happy and got through their vows without stumbling before Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams pronounced them husband and wife.

A million well-wishers - as well as some protesters - flooded into the historic environs surrounding Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other London landmarks.

About 1,900 guests were attendance, including soccer star David Beckham and musician Elton John.

The couple are now known as the duke and duchess of Cambridge.

Middleton will be known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.

Over 300 Confirmed Dead in US Tornadoes & Storms
More than 300 people have been confirmed dead in the catastrophic storms and tornados that swept across the southern United States. In the hardest-hit state of Alabama, the latest death toll has reached 204.

Tuscaloosa city in Alabama has been hardest hit by tornadoes, which have killed at least 37 people, including some students in the college town.

Claudia Keen, a local survivor, is still looking for her missing relatives.

"The baby is one, my other little cousin had just turned five and my auntie is about 42 or 43. We're looking for our loved ones. We keep hearing people whining but we can't find anybody."

Victoria Mattox from a nearby town describes how a tornado hit her house.

"As the tornado went past me it took this part of my house off so I saw the tornado taking the rest of my house. It was all in about ten seconds."

US President Barack Obama has expressed condolences for the victims and approved his request for emergency federal assistance. He says he will visit Alabama to view damage and reassure the families devastated in the storms.

"We can't control when or where a terrible storm may strike. But we can control how we respond to it, and I want every American who has been affected by this disaster to know that the federal government will do everything we can to help you recover, and we will stand with you as you rebuild."

The storm has also cut off the power supply in part of Alabama, including a nuclear plant within the state. The federal nuclear safety regulator has planned to monitor the situation.

Earlier, Obama declared states of emergency in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. The US National Guard has been called to help with rescue and cleanup operations.

Morocco Cafe Blast Kills 16
Morocco has launched an investigation into a bomb attack on a cafe in Marrakesh that killed 16 people including 11 foreigners.

The blast at the Jamaa el-Fnaa square, one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, also injured at least 20 others.
Local residents say the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber.

"I was having a coffee with three friends. in a fraction of a second, there was a very loud explosion. I don't know how to describe it. There was a lot of smoke and dust. I was sitting on the ground floor and the blast happened on the upper floor."

Nationalities of the foreign victims have not been confirmed. Some medical sources say at least six French people are among the dead.

The Israeli consul in Shanghai said that two were a Jewish couple who lived in Shanghai.

The United Nations, the United States and France have all condemned the terrorist attack.

The last serious attack in Morocco was in Casablanca in 2003, killing 45.

Cam-Thai Breaks Ceasefire; 1 Thai Soldier Killed
A fresh boarder clash between Cambodia and Thailand has killed one and wounded four Thai soldiers, despite a truce struck hours before.

A Thai villager describes the latest fighting.

"It's about 11 p.m. last night, it was raining. We heard the gun shots at the same time as thunder. Yes, there was fighting going on from time to time. We were a bit surprised as it was supposed to be a ceasefire butfighting was still going on."

As before, both sides have accused the other of starting the violence.

At least 15 troops have died in the fighting over the past week which is centered around two ancient temples along the disputed border.

More than 60,000 people have been forced to leave home.

Parts of the border along the two countries have never been formally demarcated, sparking sporadic clashes and military build-ups along the boarder.

Japan Resumes Train Service to Quake-hit Regions
Japan's bullet train services have resumed between Tokyo and Shin Aomori, lifting hopes of an economic recovery in quake-ravaged northeastern Japan.

The resumed trains named "Tohoku Shinkansen" will stop in Fukushima outside the nuclear evacuation zone set around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant which has been leaking radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Some passengers have welcomed the resumption of service.

"At first, I wanted to go by plane, but they weren't flying, so I thought about going by Shinkansen, and if that didn't work, I was thinking about taking the bus. But I am glad the Shinkansen started moving again."

"The Shinkansen is finally moving so it is easier to come here. At the beginning, I took an overnight bus to come here and that was tough."

The service was suspended between Ichinoseki in Iwate prefecture, and Sendai in Miyagi prefecture for over a month and a half in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Locals say the resumption of the bullet train services to the largest industrial city in northeastern Japan, is expected to bolster economic activities in the area.

A Clearer Picture of Foreigners Working and Living in the Mainland
Figures of China's latest census released by National Bureau of Statistics show that about one million people from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and foreign countries are working and living in the Chinese mainland. Demographers argue that to include these groups of people in the national population census is of great significance.

Weitong has more.

Almost 600,000 foreign nationals were living on the Chinese mainland at the end of last year, with the most coming from South Korea, the United States and Japan.

Foreigners on the Chinese mainland were surveyed for the first time in the once-in-a-decade census. But those on short-term business or sight-seeing trips were not covered.

Huang Rongqing, demographer with Capital University of Economics and Business, says that to include those who are not from the Chinese mainland is along with international standards, as China is increasingly globalized.

"I believe it'll help policymakers to refine management policies if they know the exact number of these people working and living in the mainland. As China's economy surges ahead, it can arguably be believed more foreigners will swarm into the mainland looking for opportunities. Accordingly, related management policies need to improve."

About 230,000 people from Hong Kong, 20,000 from Macau, and 170,000 from Taiwan were accounted for in last year's census. The census results show that employment, study and settlement are the three major reasons for them to flood into the mainland.

For CRI, I'm Weitong.

IMF Released Latest Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has released its latest its Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific. The report shows that economic growth in the region is expected to remain robust this year and the next, with an anticipated growth rate close to 7 percent in 2011 and 2012.

China and India are leading in economic growth, while the situation is still uncertain in Japan after the earthquake.

The report notes that potential overheating pressures are rising, and inflationary risks remain on the upside in Asia. For the region as a whole, Consumer Price Index inflation accelerated to about 4.5 percent in February 2011, mainly caused by the rise of fuel and food prices.

Il Houng Lee, Senior Resident Representative of IMF, explains challenges facing China.

"The main challenge going forward is to make sure that monetary policy remains relatively tight, so that inflation doesn't actually form an inflation expectation going forward. And also to make sure that property market and asset bubble is not formed in some part of the country."

Lee adds that although China has specific targets in dealing with rebalancing and income inequality in its new five year plan, how effective and how quickly these issues can be achieved will be a main challenge to the country.

HK's First RMB-denominated Stock Tumbles on Debut
The first yuan-denominated shares to trade outside of the Chinese mainland made their debut in Hong Kong, opening lower than expected.

Units in Hui Xian Real Estate Investment Trust fell to 5.1 yuan, about $0.78 US dollars shortly after trading began from the offer price of 5.24 yuan.

Two billion units in the trust, or 40 percent, were sold to investors.

Kam Hing Lam is the Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Hui Xian Real Estate Investment Trust.

"This is the first time a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is denominated in renminbi in the world, this is the first time a renminbi is traded in the stock exchange outside China, it has a lot of significance and I am very happy with the fact that it has been successfully listed today."

Investor interest in financial products is surging because of the growing strength of the Chinese Renminbi.

Charles Li, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said such renminbi investment product provides a new and important way for Chinese to invest gradually outside China.

"It's not merely a Hong Kong dollars converted into renminbi product, the more important significance is to pave way for renminbi to become international in the future. "

Feng Xiaogang the Most Popular Director among College Students
Chinese director Feng Xiaogang is now being honored as Chinese college students' favorite director at this year's Beijing College Students Film Festival.

Feng has also won the best director award for his film "Aftershock."

"When I was on the stage a while ago, they told me this was my third time winning this award. I'm happy with that. College students tend to stay true to their hearts, so I'm really happy."

Other winners of the night include Ge You, who takes home the best actor award for the film "Sacrifice," and Fan Bingbing winning best actress for "Buddha Mountain."

Wen Zhang and Yao Chen have also been chosen as the favorite actor and actress respectively.

Baby Hair Brush
Brushes made with baby's first hair growth are making a comeback in modern China. Families are using baby hair to make a keepsake that lasts a lifetime. The resurgence of this ancient Chinese art form is helping to keep traditional brush making alive.

Zhang Wan has more.

Little Yiping is getting her first haircut. She is three months old and curious about the electric clippers that are being used to shave her head.

In China it is traditional for babies to get their hair shaved off either when they reach one month or 100 days old.

In the past, this was a time when families felt they could be fairly confident that the baby would survive.

Ancient tradition came up with a special use for the shaved hair - brushes. The custom has recently become popular again among Chinese people looking for a special once in a lifetime gift for their often only child. Gao Lei, Yiping's father says he wanted something special.

"Things like a hand print or a footprint are really quite common now. But with the calligraphy brush it is something more fresh, and a calligraphic brush is something cultural. In addition it is something that was a part of her body, it has more meaning than a hand print or footprint. Then it is something that can be saved for a long time to come. We think a baby hair brush is a fitting choice."

A salesman from Jinghua Calligraphic Brush Company has brought a range of brush samples to the new parents' home.

While the baby sleeps in the other room, mom and dad get on with the business of finding the right pen that they will eventually present to their daughter - perhaps at her graduation, or on her wedding day or some other special day in the future.

Brushes were made of simple bamboo or wood and cost around 30-60 yuan or about 5 to 10 US Dollars. Now they average much more.

Yiping's parents like most parents, want the best of everything for their only child. They settle on a brush with a carved phoenix - a traditional symbol for females. The cost is approximately 600 yuan or 100 US Dollars.

Yiping's hair is carefully labeled in an envelope and taken to the factory. Located on the outskirts of Beijing, it supplies most calligraphy brushes in the city.

The company says they make on average 3,000 handmade brushes per month - 150 of which are baby hair brushes. In a busy month - after certain festivals they might make 400.

There are about 20 professionals left in Beijing who handmake calligraphy brushes. They must work for 3-5 years making ordinary brushes before being considered experienced enough to be trusted with making a baby hair brush.

Master Jia has worked here for more than 20 years. He explains how it's vital to get baby brushes right.

"A baby hair brush can only be made once for each child, since the first growth of hair is pointed at the end. So this lends a unique quality and makes it a special kind of souvenir. So many parents are choosing this - to keep for a lifetime."

The surge in demand for these specialty brushes is playing a part in keeping an ancient tradition alive. Mr Jia says the calligraphy and rushes will continue to be part of modern Chinese culture despite its decreasing use in daily life.

For CRI, I am Zhang Wan.

Newspaper Picks

Shanghai Daily: When shop worker and weather forecast fan "Tom" showed his meteorological research document collection to forecasters at the Shanghai meteorological bureau, they were stunned by the young man's professionalism.

The city weather authority opened its doors to the amateur meterologist and other forecast fans, establishing an amateurs' weather club to encourage more communication between city residents and the professionals.

Eight amateurs, who often post their forecasts on the Internet, challenging officials, were invited to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau to meet their professional counterparts.


Global Times: With pet ownership in China becoming increasingly popular, a family in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has taken it to the next level and has established a veritable urban farm on the roof of their residential building C much to the annoyance of their neighbors.

According to one angry resident, "The clucking and barking go on all night!"

The family, who asked not to be identified, is also raising ducks and peacocks in their little nest on the roof of their penthouse apartment, blocking the top floor and the roof to residents of the building who claim that the roof is their space as much as the animal owners.

Market Update

Wall Street closed higher Friday after strong earnings from Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 percent to close at 12,811.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.2 percent to close at 1,364.

The Nasdaq composite added 0.04 to 2,874. It rose 3.3 percent for the month.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.03 percent to 6070.

Germany's DAX index gained 0.5 percent to 7514.

France's CAC-40 added 0.1 percent to 4107.